As the Ellis girls’ track and field team wrapped up its Class 2A regional championship Friday in Hill City, senior Alexcia Deutscher set her sights on another, bigger trophy.
“We were more looking forward to just placing in our events,” Deutscher said. “We weren’t worried about a team title for regionals, but I think we’re focused on a team title for state now, since we had some girls come in and step it up today.”
Deutscher led the Railers to the top of the team standings with 95 points. She won the 100 meters and the javelin while also qualifying in the long jump and 400 relay. She was one of two Railers to qualify in four events and one of six participating at state in 17 events.
“I’ve been kinda thrown around in different events this year,” Deutscher said. “I haven’t long jumped since the third meet, so getting back into it, I was just hoping to qualify. (That) was my main priority.”
Joining Deutscher in Wichita are Ashley Mattheyer (400 relay, 200 meters, high jump); Cassie Waldschmidt (400 meters, 1600 relay); Abby Burton (triple jump, 400 relay, 1600 relay); Kelsey Brack (long jump, triple jump, 400 relay, 1600 relay); Haley Reiter (discus).
“Everybody just seemed to step up today and perform well,” Ellis head coach Jack Wolf said.
While Wolf noted that the points will be spread out a little more this week in Wichita, he’s still optimistic the Railers can finish near or at the top of the class.
“When you get there people are going to break up the points,” Wolf said. “Hopefully, we can come out and get a plaque. Stranger things have happened, maybe we can win it again.”
Deutscher has dominated the 100 and the javelin, an event she picked up this spring. She also closed out the Railers’ 400 relay team that won in 51.35.
“Our handoffs were pretty good today,” Deutscher said. “We’ve been practicing really hard.
“We felt pretty good coming in.”
The Railers will send relay teams to Wichita in two of three races, and the Ellis coach is expecting competitive results.
“There’s always little things you can work on a little better,” Wolf said of the relays. “We didn’t run a great time, but down at state our events are going to be spread out to where I think it will benefit us more than it has in the past.”
“To make it with a team, every person has to work just as hard,” Railer sophomore Kelsey Brack said. “To make with those four people means a lot to me because we became really close throughout the season.”
Brack, the other Railer to qualify in four events, impressed her coach in both the triple and long jump and handled a leg on both of the qualifying relays.
“Kelsey Brack had a great triple jump and long jump,” Wolf said.
After a hip injury reduced her to running at state a year ago, the sophomore was happy to be back on the runway.
“I was just excited to jump because last year I got injured and I couldn’t compete,” Brack said. “I think that’s what made me really push myself.”
Brack and Abby Burton, who also qualified in the triple jump, benefitted for a more regimented method of training.
“We didn’t jump full run throughs at all this year,” Wolf said. “I changed it this year. We basically just worked on phases. I think it’s really benefitted the two triple jumpers and the long jumpers by doing that because they get their running in. They get their workout there.
“It’s a lot of technique.”
Deutscher’s qualification in the long jump was a pleasant surprise, as she hadn’t jumped since the Railers’ third meet with a knee injury.
“I improved on my long jump this week, which was kinda shocking, but I’m looking forward to getting back and doing that at state,” the Ellis senior said.
She wasn’t the only moving piece, however.
Junior Ashley Mattheyer came in second in the 200 and qualified with a second-place showing in the high jump, clearing five feet.
“That was a blessing in disguise, her coming in second in the 200,” Wolf said.
“We moved some people around. When you do that… it all worked out in the end. That’s what our goal was.”
Whether or not the Railers return to Ellis with some state hardware, the team has already provided an exciting season for the girls’ program.
“I’m really excited for the girls,” Wolf said. “They came through and performed well. (We) had some unexpected finishes. It’s just a great attribute to them and their work ethic and what they put into it.”